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Minerals Council, AfriForum establish funds to assist Jagersfontein community

14th September 2022

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Industry organisation the Minerals Council South Africa has launched an internal emergency Minerals Council Jagersfontein Relief Fund for its members to contribute towards urgent humanitarian assistance, the clean-up of the affected area and to assist with the reconstruction of infrastructure after the collapse of a tailings dam in Jagersfontein, in the Free State.

“Based on our assessment of the situation, we believe urgent steps must be implemented to provide emergency assistance, including contributing funds to provide food aid and shelter, to assist in the clean-up and contribute to some rebuilding for those affected by the disaster,” says Minerals Council president Nolitha Fakude.

The Minerals Council set a target of R50-million for the Jagersfontein Relief Fund and it has requested contributions from its member companies and associations. The funds will be administered by the council, which will be accountable to its board for how the funds are spent.

An additional request was made for Minerals Council members to provide temporary shelter and other forms of assistance, where practically possible.

The collapse of the tailings dam on Sunday, September 11, resulted in one death, the hospitalisation of two people, 100 people being injured and damage to 35 dwellings and extensive infrastructural damage.

Fakude, Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter and Minerals Council senior executives have been in regular engagement with Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, Chief Inspector of Mines David Msiza and director-general Jacob Mbele about possible assistance the industry could provide to affected communities.

While the owners of the Jagersfontein assets are not Minerals Council members, the council sent a senior technical team to the site on Monday to assess the damage and establish what the industry could do to assist families and the affected communities.

Meanwhile, business lobby organisation AfriForum has also established a disaster fund after the dam wall of the sludge dam at Jagersfontein collapsed.

The fund was established in collaboration with agricultural interest network organisation Saai to assist members of the community and farmers, says AfriForum community structures manager Corné Cronjé.

“It is important that we support the community in their time of need. In addition to other community members who have been receiving help from various sources, the farmers’ losses should not be underestimated. In many areas, pasture is completely flooded and to provide animal feed is, therefore, one of our priorities,” he explains.

Several houses washed away, and the town experienced extensive damage. Many farmers suffered immense losses after the mud and floodwater washed over their land and swept everything away. Also reported were large-scale livestock losses, and one farmer lost 90% of his livestock.

“We appeal to the public to support the fund. Donations can be transferred to the organisation's AfriForum NPC account, at the FNB Centurion branch, with a branch code of 261550 and with account number 623 4989 8398, using 'Damramp' as the reference,” he says.

Further, AfriForum has provided aerial assistance with search and rescue efforts since Sunday by deploying two drones. Drone pilots from AfriForum’s neighbourhood watch were instrumental in taking aerial photos of the area in question, identifying and manning safe landing zones to helicopter pilots, adds Cronjé.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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